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Being There TogetherSocial Interaction in Shared Virtual Environments$
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Ralph Schroeder

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371284

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371284.001.0001

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Ethical and Social Issues in Multiuser Virtual Environments

Ethical and Social Issues in Multiuser Virtual Environments

(p.231) 8 Ethical and Social Issues in Multiuser Virtual Environments
Being There Together

Ralph Schroeder

Oxford University Press

The use of multi-user virtual environments for social research raises a variety of ethical issues. Among these are the conditions under which interactions should be recorded and how information can be anonymized. One experiment that tested the limits of research ethics was a replication of the Milgram experiments, which raises the question of how people may treat avatars as real people, and how this points to limits of the research that should be undertaken. Apart from the ethics of research, there are also ethical and social issues for the uses of multi-user virtual environments, which include the ownership of avatar bodies and objects in virtual worlds, and whether bodies and objects persist and can be carried over from one virtual environment into another.

Keywords:   research ethics, Milgram, virtual property, law, avatars

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